The issue

Antimicrobials are already in the environment, either naturally or from man-made sources. Bacteria exposed to these can develop resistance. Antibiotics are manufactured all over the world and production facilities should operate within local laws to make sure potential harmful material or ‘discharge’ doesn’t get out into the environment.

Global pharmaceutical companies usually have specific requirements that go above and beyond. But because of inconsistency in regulation, oversight or enforcement in different countries – and a lack of global standards – more must be done to reduce the negative impact antibiotics have on the environment.

The solution

Companies set science-based discharge limits in September 2019 – 2 years ahead of target – and are now assessing their own sites and those of their suppliers. They will then carry out audits to verify reported results and agree corrective measures if necessary.

All manufacturers in the global supply chains must be encouraged to comply to the new limits

Msd Environmentalimpact Web


Over the last several years, MSD has committed $100 million to a water-infrastructure improvement initiative to install Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API)-treatment technology at its facilities.

This ensures factory discharges do not contain residual pharmaceutical products that may present a risk to human health or the environment. MSD also recently collated - on behalf of the AMR Industry Alliance – data submitted by several companies to inform science‐based receiving water targets for antibiotics discharged from manufacturing operations


Pfizer is committed to responsible manufacturing practices minimizing the potential environmental impact related to the production of antibacterial APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) and/or drug products.

Since spearheading the formation of the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Industry Alliance manufacturing group (the Alliance Manufacturing Group) in 2017, we have continued our leading role – working to help develop solutions to address the potential impact of manufacturing discharges on AMR, and establishing science-driven, risk-based targets for discharge concentrations for antibiotics.

Our company ERM strategy has been implemented at 100% of our owned and operated antibacterial APIs and / or drug products manufacturing sites. All Pfizer owned and operated manufacturing sites are required to meet Pfizer Predicted No-effect Concentrations (PNECs) for the antibacterial APIs and/or drug products manufactured.

Pfizer Environment

Last modified: 20 September 2023

Last reviewed: 20 September 2023